Wing (building)

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The Queen's House in Greenwich as viewed from the foot of Observatory Hill, showing the original 1635 house and the additional 1807 wings linked by colonnades

A wing is part of a building - or any feature of a building - that is subordinate to the main, central structure.[1] The individual wings may directly adjoin the main building or may be built separately and joined to it by a connecting structure such as a colonnade or pergola. New buildings may incorporate wings from the outset or these may be added at a later date as part of an expansion or remodelling.


In Classical and Palladian buildings, the wings are smaller buildings either side of the corps de logis and joined to it by quadrants or colonnades, partially projecting forward to form a court or cour d'honneur.[1]

In medieval and early modern times, kings, princes and nobles upgraded their palaces, stately homes and villas in order to improve their outward appearance. The larger the building complex, the wealthier and more powerful the owner would seem to the beholder. The Palace of Versailles, the Lateran Palace in Rome or Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam are well known examples of a large number of particularly grand palaces or stately homes.


In modern architecture, wings are often found on public buildings as well as business premises. Wings may have special functions. For example, hospitals frequently have different wings each with separate functions. Wings may be named after their function (e.g. the Cardiac Wing of Great Ormond Street Hospital[2]), their orientation (e.g. the East Wing of Somerset House, King's College, London[3]) or a notable person (e.g. the Cavendish Wing of St Mary's Hospice, Ulverston[4]). Wings create more window surface for more natural lighting and for safety-critical buildings such as laboratories, shorten escape routes, as opposed to monolithic structures of the same floor area.

Views of the Palace of Versailles
Panoramic view from the park


  1. ^ a b Curl, James Stevens (2006). Oxford Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, 2nd ed., OUP, Oxford and New York, p. 853, ISBN 978-0-19-860678-9.
  2. ^ The Cardiac Wing at Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  3. ^ Facilities at Somerset House East Wing at Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  4. ^ New Cavendish Wing at St Mary’s Hospice given the Royal seal of approval at Retrieved 22 September 2014.


  • Pevsner, Honour, Fleming: Lexikon der Weltarchitektur, 2nd edn., 1987, Prestel-Verlag, ISBN 3-7913-0652-9.